Q+A: 5 Minutes with Sabrina Monique

New York-born and based Sabrina Monique is making a name for herself one pop single at a time. Her latest track, ‘More Than A Friend’ was released just last Friday via United World Records and had Randy Merill (who has previously worked with Katy Perry, Muse and Lorde) step forward to assist with mastering the track. 

Stream / Download: ‘More Than A Friend’

While Sabrina Monique is still comparatively young and new to the industry, her sound carries a maturity that’s difficult to mask. With a sprinkling of old-school disco vibes, ‘More Than A Friend’ marks itself as a rising, self-loving anthem. 

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Growing up I never can remember a time when I thought of doing anything else…  I always looked at performers on TV or in magazines and just imagine one day that would be me.  I started dancing at the age of two and singing soon after.  Music is where I can be my most authentic self and express whatever it may be I cannot say aloud in the real world.  

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

When it comes to writing there is no correct answer. Sometimes I am hit with an idea other times I hear a melody or rhythm I just HAVE to write to. I will say that when I am writing it definitely is coming from a personal place. All of my music tells a story or anecdote from my life. Writing is my greatest form of self-expression. If there is something left unsaid or something I need to say – I will write about it. It is almost a way to receive closure from the situations I am writing about. 

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I have one song I collaborated with x10 award-winning 3x #1 iTunes top 20 Nashville producer Dr Ford on a song of mine (Sideshow) set to release in  2022

What’s on your current playlist?

Right now I would say that right now my playlist has a little bit of everything. I am vibing out to Dua Lipa, Halsey, Avril Lavigne Billie Eilish, The Kid Laroi, Yebba, Willow Smith, MGK and JoJo to name a few

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

I think that the beauty of live shows is the relationship and the way you can speak to your fans through your songs in real-time. There is a playful relationship when sharing energy with the crowd. I love to tell stories through my songs and my work so I try to take my fans on the journey with me. 

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I think that my sound has a lot to do with where I started writing from. I experienced a lot of heartache at a young age and when I began to write my own music, I think my voice and tonality began to reflect that. You can definitely hear the pain, cry, and rawness in the soulful pop grit of my voice. 

Take us through a day in the recording studio.

When I get to the studio a sense of calmness comes over me. I normally decompress, light a candle in the sound booth, and get settled into my space, setting up the booth with everything I need. Once we have a plan of what we are doing, I head into the booth- take my shoes off- and once the headphones go on, I zone out. I normally do not leave the booth more than once to hear something until the song is done. I won’t stop until I finish and nail it. I can knock out a song in an hour and a half or spend months trying to perfect the vocal. I will not release something until I feel like I can truly be proud of it. I won’t say until it’s perfect because I always feel like musicians and artists are never truly 100% satisfied. Not if they’re a perfectionist, anyway. 

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

Growing up I never can remember a time when I thought of doing anything else… I always looked at performers on TV  or in magazines and just imagine one day that would be me. I remember seeing Britney Spears perform on television once in my grandparent’s house thinking that when I was older I would be doing that too.   

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

I always have water and watered down pineapple juice somewhere… Idk why but I love it 

Any emerging artists on your radar?

I love Sadie Jane, Olivia Rodrigo, Gayle and BENEE 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

I normally get inspiration from personal experience, life lol, conversations I have eavesdropped on the subway or out in public, friends relationships, parental issues, TV, the media, meditation, walks outside… Anything, really. Inspiration comes in all forms 

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

I love my producers, lol. They have it all haha. I am an older school garage band user, semi Ableton pro lol I have a mini studio set up at home with a WARM audio mic I usually use to cut demos with. 

Any side projects you’re working on?

I am currently writing new music and in the process of rehearsing for live performances in the spring 

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I think learning and education is the biggest thing. I think the more classes you take, people you watch/follow,  collaborate with, experiment with- trial and error, or just learn by doing and making mistakes helps you grow exponentially. I personally studied voice, acting, and music for years and in college.  I continue classes and lessons to this day studying weekly with vocal coaches on technique and working with producers collaborating ideas. 

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

This year, I will be releasing new singles, music videos, and some killer remixes. Also, expect to hear more of me and my sound

Famous last words? 

Do not waste any time and everything is worth it.

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   Image credit: Lauren Toub

By Sarah Britton